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Cramps in Early Pregnancy

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Authored by Donna Johnson in Pregnancy
Published on 10-07-2009

If you have just found out you are pregnant, you are likely to be almost as nervous as you are excited, especially if you’re a first time mother-to-be. The abundance of information available on the Internet can actually add to your anxiety, as you research all your symptoms – or lack thereof. One of the most worrisome symptoms during early pregnancy is cramping. However, cramping in early pregnancy is not necessarily a bad thing.

When you experience cramping in early pregnancy, you may be concerned that you are having a miscarriage. If your cramping is accompanied by bleeding, especially if the bleeding is severe, or if the cramps worsen or do not go away, it may be that you are having a miscarriage. If your cramping is accompanied by any of these symptoms, you should contact your obstetrician right away. He or she may want you to come in to the office or go to the hospital to be evaluated.

If your cramping seems to be confined to one side of your abdomen only, it is important for you to contact your obstetrician as soon as possible. Cramping that is severe, does not go away, and appears on one side only may indicate that you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, where the baby implants into your Fallopian tube and begins to grow there. Medical treatment is urgently required in such a case. Such pain may also indicate the formation of a cyst, which should also be checked out right away.

However, most cramping in early pregnancy is not actually due to a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or anything serious at all. Cramping at this stage is actually very common, and the cramping can even continue throughout your pregnancy. One reason for this cramping is the fact that your body is undergoing changes as your baby grows. Your uterus is stretching to accommodate your baby, which can cause you to feel a stretching or cramping sensation. There are also ligaments in your abdomen called round ligaments that support your uterus. As your baby grows and your uterus expands, your round ligaments will stretch as well. This can also cause a stretching or cramping sensation in your abdomen.

Although you can’t completely prevent some cramps in early pregnancy or at any stage of your pregnancy, you can take some steps to try to lessen the cramps themselves. Try to take it easy as much as you can – listen to your body and rest when you are tired. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and go to the bathroom as often as you need to.

Remember that your obstetrician is there for you throughout your pregnancy to address any problems or concerns that you may have. There is no question too “silly” to ask your obstetrician, and he or she has certainly dealt with many nervous patients before you. If cramps in early pregnancy or any symptom throughout your entire pregnancy concern you, you should call your obstetrician. The peace of mind you can gain from a simple phone call and/or office visit to get checked out can give immeasurable benefits to you and your baby.

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